US 6875916 B2
A conduit system for laying cables along the floor of a passenger cabin of an aircraft includes longitudinal and transverse cable guide elements respectively forming cable channels, and cable branch junctions at intersections of the longitudinal and transverse guide elements. Each guide element includes a lower part secured to the cabin floor, and an upper part secured (e.g. snap fitted) onto the lower part to cover the cable channel. The cable branch junction includes a lower section secured to the floor and covered by an upper section, and allows the cables to continue straight through the junction or to be deflected by 90° or by 180°. With this arrangement, a greater number and greater diameter of cables can be laid out with a minimal installation effort. The components of the system are easily adaptable to any required installation layout, while providing a continuous covered protected enclosure for the cables.
1. In a passenger transport aircraft having a passenger cabin therein bounded from below by a cabin floor, a cable channel arrangement arranged adjacent to said cabin floor in said passenger cabin, and power and/or data conductor cables received in said cable channel arrangement,
an improvement wherein said cable channel arrangement comprises:
a longitudinal guide element extending longitudinally in said cabin and forming a longitudinal cable channel with at least a respective one of said cables received therein;
a transverse guide element extending transversely in said cabin and forming a transverse cable channel with at least a respective one of said cables received therein; and
a cable branch junction that is joined to and interconnects said longitudinal guide element and said transverse guide element, and that forms a cable passage therein including a longitudinal cable receiving area communicating into said longitudinal cable channel and a transverse cable receiving area communicating into said transverse cable channel, with said at least one respective cable passing through said passage;
wherein each respective one of said guide elements respectively comprises a lower part secured to said cabin floor and an upper part arranged on said lower part to cover said cable channel of said respective guide element.
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said lower part of said longitudinal guide element comprises a base, a central web extending upwardly from said base, and two side webs respectively extending from said base parallel to each other on opposite sides of and spaced apart from said central web, forming respective ones of said longitudinal cable channel between said side webs and said central web respectively on each side of said central web; and
said upper part of said longitudinal guide element comprises a downwardly facing catch element that matingly corresponds with said central web of said lower part, and two lateral cover strips that protrude laterally on opposite sides of said catch element so as to cover said longitudinal cover channels and that include elastically flexible free edge rims protruding laterally beyond said side webs of said lower part.
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This application is based on and claims the priority under 35 U.S.C. §119 of German Patent Application 102 48 241.1, filed on Oct. 16, 2002, the entire disclosure of which is incorporated herein by reference.
The invention relates to an arrangement for laying cables or lines, such as electrical or fiber optic cables, in the area of the floor of a passenger transport aircraft, including longitudinal or lengthwise guide elements and transverse or crosswise guide elements that together form the cable channels, also known as conduits or raceways.
It is generally known to provide conductor lines and cables or cable bundles, e.g. electrical cables and/or fiber optic cables, in the floor area of the passenger cabin of passenger transport aircraft, to supply power and data to various electrical connections or receptacles provided in the passenger seats, as well as to entertainment and information systems integrated into the passenger seats. Thus, various data and power supply lines must be laid out throughout the cabin, as a particular example, for the passenger entertainment system (PES) or for power supply lines for the electric power outlets for connecting laptop computers or other portable personal electronic devices. The lines or cables in this regard are generally laid in cable channels that run along the passenger cabin floor and are either visibly exposed or merely covered by the floor carpeting. In addition to the longitudinal or lengthwise cable runs in the area of the seat mounting rails, it is also necessary to provide a transverse or crosswise cable run for the cabling of each individual seat group. In this context, each crosswise cable run extends from a connection module in the area of the dado panel, that is to say from the wall paneling or trim directly adjacent to the floor within the aircraft cabin. With such a cable layout, the occurrence of crossing cables also arises.
The typical conventional manner and system of laying out the various cables and lines as described above, using typical conventional cable channels, is relatively complicated, time consuming and costly, allows freely exposed and thus unprotected cable lines, and cannot be flexibly adapted to meet the requirements of an improved seat cabling layout. Due to the ever-increasing improvements of the information and entertainment options being made available to passengers in each individual passenger seat, there is an ever-increasing number and complexity of data and power supply lines that must be laid out in the passenger cabin of the aircraft and particularly to each individual passenger seat. This demands improvements in the system of cable channels, conduits, or raceways and the like used for laying out the cables and lines.
In view of the above, it is an object of the invention to provide an arrangement for laying out cables and the like in an aircraft cabin, which makes it possible to lay out larger diameter cables as well as an increased number of cables and lines, with a minimal installation effort and complexity, in comparison to conventional cabling arrangements. A further object of the invention is to enable the flexible and easily adaptable arrangement of the cable laying paths, while continuously and completely enclosing or covering and thus protecting the cables. The invention further aims to avoid or overcome the disadvantages of the prior art, and to achieve additional advantages, as apparent from the present specification.
The above objects have been achieved according to the invention in a passenger transport aircraft with a passenger cabin bounded from below by a cabin floor, with longitudinal or lengthwise guide elements and transverse or crosswise guide elements forming cable channels to receive cables and lines laid out therein along the cabin floor. Throughout this specification, the terms lengthwise and longitudinal refer to the direction generally extending along the longitudinal (roll) axis of the aircraft, while the terms transverse and crosswise refer to the direction extending generally along the transverse or crosswise (pitch) axis of the aircraft. The terms cable and line both interchangeably refer to any conductor or group of conductors such as an electrical conductor or a fiber optic light conductor, which is preferably insulated and sheathed in any conventionally known manner.
According to the invention, the longitudinal guide elements and the transverse guide elements each respectively comprise a lower part and an upper part, whereby each lower part is secured to the aircraft cabin floor and the respective upper part is arranged and preferably secured on the associated lower part, for example being snapped or otherwise fastened onto the associated lower part. Furthermore, a cable branch junction is connected to the guide elements to form at least one intersection or crossing point of the longitudinal and transverse guide elements. The longitudinal and transverse guide elements and the cable branch junction together form a cable laying path to receive the cables or conductor lines therein.
In the inventive arrangement, it is especially advantageous that the various components are so configured that they can be individually combined with one another in a flexible, adaptable, and variable manner, so as to form selectable or variable cable laying paths for conductor lines, cables and cable bundles with a layout, configuration and arrangement meeting the requirements of any particular installation application. It is thus possible to quickly and precisely lay out the various cables and conductor lines to the power and data supply units at the passenger seats of a passenger transport aircraft. A continuous and complete protection of the cables and conductor lines is ensured, namely a fixedly secured and covered or closed and thus protected cable laying path is provided in the connection area of the seat frame to the seat rails, in the areas between seats, and also in the areas from seat row to seat row, within an aircraft passenger cabin. Moreover, this installation can be carried out with a minimal effort, complexity, and expense.
In order that the invention may be clearly understood, it will now be described in connection with example embodiments, with reference to the accompanying drawings, wherein:
The cable layout is particularly carried out in longitudinal guide elements 10 and transverse guide elements 20 arranged in the area of the passenger seat groups, which are not shown. At respective intersections or crossing points 18 between the longitudinal guide elements 10 and the transverse guide elements 20, respective cable branch junctions 19 are provided (for example as shown in FIG. 8). These identified individual components, namely the longitudinal cable guide elements 10, the transverse cable guide elements 20, and the cable branch junctions 19 are configured so that they may be individually combined and connected with each other in different configurations, so as to form an overall cable laying arrangement, e.g. a conduit or raceway arrangement, for receiving the conductor lines, cables and/or cable bundles, corresponding to the particular requirements of the individual installation application. For example, it is a simple matter to join several standard modular parts or to cut the cable guide elements 10 and 20 to the respective required length, and to combine the various elements in any required number and configuration. Thereby, a precise and rapid laying of cables and conductor lines to the supply units on the passenger seats of essentially any aircraft cabin layout can be realized.
In order to supply the required data and power to provide the desired information, entertainment and power to the individual passengers in the individual seats, data and power supply lines 7 must be laid out to the supply unit 8. In the illustrated example embodiment, the supply lines or cables 7 extend crosswise or transversely in the cabin, beginning from a connection in the area of the aircraft wall 21, through a transverse guide element 20 into the area of the seat group 3, and there to the supply unit or connection box 8. Alternatively or additionally, the cables or conductor lines 7 are laid out in longitudinal guide elements 10 along the seat rail 5 to extend to a further seat row, i.e. another seat group arranged in front of or behind the illustrated seat group 3. As can be seen, each longitudinal guide element 10 includes one or more lower parts 12 and one or more upper parts 11, whereby the upper parts 11 may have gaps or slots therein to allow the conductor lines 7 to branch off and extend upwardly from the guide element 10 to the supply unit or connection box 8.
The cable layout in the area of a seat rail 5 is shown in a sectional view in FIG. 4. As shown by dashed lines, the seat leg or foot 6 of the seat group frame is secured at the desired location in the seat rail 5. In the areas along the seat rail 5 between successive seat rows, i.e. areas that do not receive a seat leg or foot 6 of the seat frame of a seat group, a seat rail cover 9 is provided to cover and close the open slot of the seat rail 5.
As also seen in
Basically, one or more lower parts 12 are arranged one after another to form a cable laying path 4 on the aircraft floor 13, and are then secured to the floor 13 (for example by screws, adhesive, brads, rivets, snap fasteners, or the like). Then the cables and/or conductor lines 7 are laid into the channel or cable laying path 4 formed by the lower parts 12. Finally the one or more upper parts 11 are arranged and secured (e.g. snap-fit) onto the lower parts 12 so as to cover the cable laying path 4 with the cables or lines 7 enclosed therein.
The lower part 12 of each longitudinal guide element 10 comprises a base, a central web 121 protruding upwardly from the base, as well as two side webs 122 spaced laterally from and extending parallel to the central web 121. Thereby, a respective cable channel 123 is formed respectively on the left side and the right side of the central web 121. The upper part 11 of each longitudinal guide element 10 comprises a downwardly facing catch or snap-in element 111 that mates or cooperates with a counterpart catch element, such as a protruding bead, on the upper end of the central web 121 of the lower part 12. The upper part 11 further comprises two opposite lateral cover strips 112 extending laterally from the catch or snap-in element 111. The lateral cover strips 112 respectively cover the individual cable channels 123 and can snap-engage with the side webs 122 of the lower part 12. Thereby, the upper part 11 can be easily positioned and snap-engaged onto the lower part.
The edge portion or rim 113 of a respective lateral cover strip 112 protrudes laterally over and beyond the respective cable channel 123, and is embodied in a bendable and elastically flexible manner. Thereby, this flexible edge portion or rim 113 facing outwardly away from the seat rail 5 forms a smooth finished trim transition to a floor covering 14 provided on the cabin floor 13, for example a carpet edge 15. Particularly, the carpet edge 15 is inserted under the flexible edge or rim 113 of the upper part 11 in this context. This achieves a clean, finished trim covering of the carpet edge 15. Also, the edge rim 113 of the lateral cover strip 112 exerts an elastic pressing or clamping force on the carpet edge 15 so as to hold the carpet 14 in position and/or to prevent the carpet edge 15 from coming loose and flipping or folding or rolling up, which would present a tripping hazard for the passengers.
On the other hand, the inwardly directed lateral cover strip 112 facing toward the seat rail 5 transitions smoothly downwardly, so that its elastically flexible edge portion or rim 113 lies on the outer rim of the base of the lower part 12 of the longitudinal guide element 10.
As mentioned above, a seat rail cover 9 is arranged on top of and covers the areas of the seat rail 5 that do not receive the seat legs or feet 6 of the seat frame of the passenger seat groups.
As can be seen in
In this regard, the supply cable or conductor line 7 is guided via at least one longitudinal guide element 10 along the edge of the floor 13 adjoining the dado panel 23 to the location at which a crosswise or transverse run of the cable is to be directed toward the seat rail to supply a given seat row. At this location, a cable branch junction 19 is joined to the longitudinal guide element 10, whereby this cable branch junction 19 allows respective cables 7 to extend continuously in the longitudinal direction through the cable branch junction 19, or to be deflected into a crosswise direction and directed into a transverse guide element 20 that is also connected to the cable branch junction 19. In this regard, both the longitudinal guide element 10 and the transverse guide element 20 can respectively be assembled from standard length modular elements and/or may be cut to length as needed. Then, at the appropriate transverse or crosswise location, of a corresponding intersection or crossing point 18, a further cable branch junction 19 is joined to the transverse guide element 20 to allow the conductor lines or cables 7 to be redirected into yet another longitudinal guide element 10, for example along the seat rail (a particular example embodiment is illustrated in
As can be seen in
To achieve a strong and stable structure of the overall cable branch junction 19, the lower section 191 is provided with stiffening ribs 196 which form stiffening areas providing a stiff curved transition from the longitudinal receiving areas 194 to the transverse receiving area 193. The cables 7 can be laid or curved around this stiffened curved area to be deflected from the longitudinal to the transverse direction.
The upper section 192 of the cable branch junction 19 as shown in
For this purpose, the lines 7 and 7′ are received by the transverse receiving area 193 of the first cable branch junction 19, are deflected into the longitudinal direction through the longitudinal receiving area 194, where they temporarily leave or protrude from the first junction 19. There, the cables 7 and 7′ are looped to form a 180° direction reversal around the seat leg 6 under the seat rail cover 9. Then, the cables 7 and 7′ extend further on the other side of the seat rail 5, where they enter the longitudinal receiving area 194′ of the second cable branch junction 19′. At this point, the two cables 7 and 7′ are separated and respectively guided differently. Namely, the cable or line 7′ is deflected into the crosswise direction through the crosswise or transverse receiving area 193′ and from there into a connected transverse guide element 20. On the other hand, the cable or line 7 is guided continuously in the longitudinal direction through the longitudinal receiving area 194′ of the cable branch junction 19′, from which it is directed into another connected longitudinal guide element 10, which in turn guides the cable 7 further in the longitudinal direction parallel along the seat rail 5 to the next seat row. The lower parts 12 of the longitudinal guide elements 10 are covered by the upper parts 11 as described above. Similarly, the tops of the cable branch junctions 19 and 19′ are covered by upper sections 192 and 192′, also as described above.
Although the invention has been described with reference to specific example embodiments, it will be appreciated that it is intended to cover all modifications and equivalents within the scope of the appended claims. It should also be understood that the present disclosure includes all possible combinations of any individual features recited in any of the appended claims.